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Central Vietnam province weighs dam damage against gains

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Central Vietnam province weighs dam damage against gains

Workers stuck at the construction site of Dak Mi 2 hydropower project in Quang Nam Province’s Phuoc Son District due to flash floods are rescued on October 30, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan.


Hurting from floods and landslides that ravaged it last year, Quang Nam says it will suspend hydropower projects deemed to pose environmental threats.

Quang Nam, home to the famous tourist hotspot Hoi An, has so far approved 46 hydropower projects with a combined capacity of 1,816 MW, it was said at a meeting held in the central province Wednesday.

Of these, 22 with a total capacity of 1,273 MW have begun operations, eight are under construction, and the rest are still in the process of investment preparation.

According to the provincial Department of Industry and Trade, dam projects have made it easier for the province to access funding for related infrastructure projects like roads, schools and the supply of water and electricity. This in turn has created jobs for locals and improved their living standards.

However, the department admitted that several hydropower plants located in mountainous areas have damaged forest land to greater or lesser extents.

The role of hydropower plants in the deadly landslides triggered by floods and heavy rains in the province last year should be taken into serious consideration, a department representative said at the meeting.

Truong Xuan Ty, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that apart from contributing to the national power grid, hydropower projects in Quang Nam have played a role in controlling floods during the rainy season and providing water for downstream areas in the dry season.

However, environmental impact assessments have not been done of construction of infrastructure projects following the hydropower plants, he said.

Provincial vice chairman Nguyen Hong Quang, who chaired the meeting, said investors of projects that have begun operations have to ensure absolute safety and strictly follow regulations.

The environmental impacts of projects that are still under construction have to be looked at carefully, he said.

He said the provincial department of industry and trade will collaborate with other concerned agencies to review all the projects and make an assessment of their environmental impacts.

“Our agenda is not to trade environment for economic development at any cost,” Quang said.

He insisted that any hydropower project that shows signs of harming the environment should be dealt with firmly or even suspended.

Viet Son, vice chairman of the province’s Nam Giang District, concurred with Quang.

He said the district was currently home to 11 dams – six of them operational and the rest still on paper.

Generally speaking, such projects have allowed the district to attract investment for infrastructure development and increase budget collection.

Yet this has created the problem of such projects taking away the agricultural land of local people and as a result, farmers have turned to cultivating illegally on land that belongs to protected forests, he said.

“Nam Giang District agrees that any projects that are not truly essential but cause significant threats for the environment should be eliminated,” Son said.

Nguyen Quang, vice chairman of Phuoc Son District, said there were five dams being built in the district.

For now, the Dak Mi 4 plant has changed the flow of the Dak Mi River, causing more serious erosion in Phuoc Hiep Commune.

Nguyen Hoang Linh, vice chairman of Tay Giang District, set to have five dams, said its A Vuong 4 project with a capacity of 100 MW was now at the investment preparation stage.

However, once it goes up, the project will take away 8.2 hectares (20.26 acres) of protected forests and 3.8 hectares of production forest (plantations), he said.

“I suggest that the province stops this project before it takes shape,” he said.

The entire central region and parts of the Central Highlands were hit by a series of storms last October that triggered torrential downpours, resulting in severe flooding and landslides.

Quang Nam was one of five hardest hit provinces, the others being Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue.

The province lost 43 residents, 13 are still listed as missing and 350 people suffered serious injuries. Apart from the human cost, 650 houses were completely destroyed and almost 4,400 others were seriously damaged. The province has estimated total damage at nearly VND11 trillion ($480 million).

Both the public and experts have blamed the destruction on deforestation, uncontrolled construction and other man-made changes to the natural terrain, including construction of dams.

Last month, the Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh asked local authorities to put on hold all small scale hydropower projects that have been planned but are yet to be invested in.

Such projects should only be carried out once their environmental assessments confirm they will not have negative impacts on the environment, he said.

As of 2018, the country had 385 hydropower projects in operation and another 143 under construction, according to state-owned power utility Vietnam Electricity.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/central-vietnam-province-weighs-dam-damage-against-gains-4224471.html

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Vietnam rehearses Covid-19 vaccine transport to prepare for mass inoculation

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A drill to transport AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines took place Friday night in HCMC prior to large-scale administration starting next Monday.

Two staff of the Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC), importer of Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam, stand outside a freezer where the vaccines are kept.  As required by the vaccine’s developers, British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University, the doses are being kept at a temperature of minus 2-8 degrees Celcius.  VNVN had started work to make a freezer and super-cold storage in Ho Chi Minh City in October and November last year when Vietnam was still in the step of negotiating to buy the vaccine. Last Wednesday, 117,600 doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on a flight from Seoul. They are the first batch of 30 million doses Vietnam had ordered from AstraZeneca.

Two staff of Vietnam Vaccine JSC (VNVC), importer of Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam, stand outside a freezer where the vaccines are kept.
As required by developers, British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University, the doses are being stored at a temperature of minus 2-8 degrees Celsius. VNVC had started work on a freezer and super-cold storage system in Ho Chi Minh City during October and November last year when Vietnam was still negotiating to buy the vaccine.
Last Wednesday, 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine arrived in HCMC on a flight from Seoul. They are the first batch of 30 million doses Vietnam had ordered from the company.

A group of staff walks into the freezer. Only those assigned by the firm could enter this area.  After the final one in the group has been in the store, the door is closed by another staff from outside.

Only those assigned by the firm could enter and operate within this area.

Part of the 117,600 vaccine doses inside the freezer.  There is only one path in and out of the area where the vaccines are kept. This area is monitored around the clock via security camera. Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said Friday that after working with South Korea to evaluate the quality of the batch, it is now concluded that the vaccine is eligible for inoculation. He also announced that prioritized groups will be injected with the first batch starting next Monday.

Part of the 117,600 vaccine doses inside the freezer.
There is only one path in and out of the area where the vaccines are kept. This area is monitored around the clock via security cameras.
Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long said Friday that after working with South Korea to evaluate the quality of the batch, it is now concluded the vaccine is eligible for inoculation. He also announced prioritized groups would be injected with the first batch starting next Monday.

A staff uses a forklift to practice the step of unloading a shipment that has the same weight of a AstraZeneca vaccine package from a shelf and put it on the ground.  A VNVC representative said the AstraZeneca vaccine requires the same storage conditions and transport process like many other vaccines that are currently in use Vietnam. However, this is a new vaccine that had been imported in a rush situation to curb an ongoing pandemic, all the related processes and procedures must be carried out more carefully to minimize any possible risks that could happen.

A staff member uses a forklift to practice unloading a supposed shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
A VNVC representative said the AstraZeneca vaccine requires the same storage conditions and transport process like many other vaccines currently in use across Vietnam. “However, this is a new vaccine that had been imported in a rush to curb an ongoing pandemic, and that all related processes and procedures must be carried out carefully to minimize any possible risks.”

Outside the freezer, a staff places reusable dry ice gel packs into a styrofoam box.Those boxes will store the vaccine doses temporarily when they are transported from the store to specialized trucks that would distribute the vaccine

Outside the freezer, a staff member places reusable dry ice gel packs into a Styrofoam box. Those boxes would store vaccine doses temporarily when transported from storage to specialized distribution trucks.

Each box will have a certain amount of doses depending on the detailed plan of vaccination for each locality as regulated by the Health Ministry.

Each box contains a certain amount of doses depending on the detailed plan of vaccination for each locality as regulated by the Health Ministry.

Tran Han Tuan, 37, head of the warehouse department in southern Vietnam of VNVC, said the truck is parked 2.8 meters away from the freezer’s door and the maximum time for one staff to carry a box of vaccine from the freezer to the truck is just ten second. Therefore all movements must be especially quick and accurate. We have been way too familiar with this step and have yet to make any mistakes but until today we are still quite nervous because the entire nation is counting on this first batch of vaccine, he said.

Tran Han Tuan, 37, head of the VNVC warehouse department in southern Vietnam, said the truck is parked 2.8 meters from the freezer’s door and that loading a box takes only ten seconds. Therefore, “all movements must be especially quick and accurate.” “We have yet to make any mistakes, but remain quite nervous since the entire nation is counting on this first batch of vaccines,” he noted.

The back door of the truck will be open in only one minute to receive the boxes of vaccine to make sure the quality of the vaccine will not be affected by the outdoor condition.

The back door of the truck will be opened in only one minute to receive the vaccines to ensure their quality remains unaffected by exterior conditions.

A package of vaccine is taken out of the styrofoam box. On the truck, the indoor unit system would stay ready before the vaccine enters. The entire cargo bed is made sure to meet all temperature standards as in the freezer. It has also met the GSP (good storage practice) and GDP (good medicine distribution practice) standards according to regulations of the Health Ministry.

A package of vaccines is taken out of a Styrofoam box.
On the truck, an indoor unit system would be readied before the vaccine enters. The entire cargo bed has been accessed to meet all temperature standards. It has also met GSP (good storage practice) and GDP (good medicine distribution practice) standards according to Health Ministry regulations.

Each package of vaccine is attached with a temperature measuring device. If the temperature exceeds the allowable limit (2-8 degrees Celcius), this device will raise alarm, which means the shipment is not eligible for vaccination.

Each package of vaccines is equipped with a temperature measuring device. If the temperature exceeds the allowable limit (2-8 degrees Celsius), this device will raise an alarm, which means the shipment is not eligible for administration.

The truck leaves the freezer. The value of this truck is more than VND1 billion ($43,405). Two of such trucks will be in use for the upcoming vaccination.For now, the plan said 13 cities and provinces that have recorded community transmissions in the latest community transmission wave that broke out in late January will receive the vaccine first.  They include northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh where the outbreak started, and HCMC and Hanoi. The vaccine will be transported by trucks to localities in southern Vietnam and for the rest, it will travel by plane.On Saturday, the Health Ministry will host a conference on the implementation of large-scale vaccination, nationwide training on receiving, using and preserving vaccines, as well as handling post-vaccination complications.  Two days later, those directly treating Covid-19 patients at 18 medical facilities and prioritized categories of people in 13 pandemic-hit localities, with Covid-19 epicenter Hai Duong given the highest priority, will be among the first to be vaccinated. Phan Manh Cuong, director of the health department in Hai Duong, which is now hit hardest by the outbreak, said nine groups in Hai Duong Town and Kim Thanh District will be the first to be vaccinated. The nine groups include doctors treating Covid-19 patients, medical staff taking part in the process of contact tracing, mass testing and those working at centralized quarantined camps. While the production of domestic vaccines is underway, Vietnam has speeded up foreign procurement to inoculate prioritized groups.  The government has said it is stepping up negotiations with vaccine manufacturers in the U.S., Russia and some other countries to ensure it could obtain a total 150 million doses to cover 70 percent of its population.

Two freezer trucks, valued at more than VND1 billion ($43,400) each, will be in use for the upcoming mass vaccination. For now, 13 cities and provinces that have recorded community transmissions in the latest wave will receive the vaccine first. They include northern provinces of Hai Duong and Quang Ninh where the outbreak started on Jan.28, along with HCMC and Hanoi.
The vaccine will be transported by trucks to localities in southern Vietnam and to the rest, by plane.
From Monday, those directly treating Covid-19 patients at 18 medical facilities and prioritized categories of people in 13 pandemic-hit localities, with Covid-19 epicenter Hai Duong given the highest priority, will be among the first to be vaccinated.
While the production of domestic vaccines is underway, Vietnam has speeded up foreign procurement to inoculate prioritized groups. The government has said it is stepping up negotiations with vaccine manufacturers in the U.S., Russia and some other countries to ensure it could obtain a total 150 million doses to cover 70 percent of its population.

Source: https://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/vietnam-rehearses-covid-19-vaccine-transport-to-prepare-for-mass-inoculation-4244379.html

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National population database a breakthrough in population management

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A national database on population, which was launched on February 25, is a breakthrough in population management work in the country.

National population database a breakthrough in population management hinh anh 1

One of six core national databases

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed Decision No 896/QD-TTg in June 2013 approving a scheme on simplifying administrative procedures, citizenship papers, and databases related to population management during 2013-2020, which set out the two key tasks of building a national database on population and a system for citizen ID production, issuance, and management.

Analysts said the database is “a valuable national resource” and one of six core national databases playing an important role in the process of building e-government towards a digital government, a digital economy, and a digital society in Vietnam.

Regarding the system for citizen ID production, issuance, and management, relevant agencies have so far completed research and production of new ID cards embedded with chips and QR codes. Fifty million such cards are expected to be issued before July 1.

Foundation for modernising State administrative management

According to Major General To Van Hue, Director of the Police Department for Administrative Management of Social Order at the Ministry of Public Security, the national database on population serves as a foundation for modernising State administrative management and contributes to developing e-government. This is an important breakthrough in population management in the country, helping simplify administrative procedures, reduce citizenship papers, cut cost and time for citizens, and improve the quality of administrative services.

Hue stressed that the national population database will collect and update information related to the population, thus improving the efficiency of population management and assisting with citizen verification, contributing to ensuring security and order and effectively fighting crime.

Dr Ngo Hai Phan, Director of the Administrative Procedure Control Agency at the Government Office, also emphasised the significance of the national population database in establishing a digital citizen platform, thus cutting costs and creating favourable conditions for processing administrative procedures./.VNA

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/society/national-population-database-a-breakthrough-in-population-management-717652.html

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Six new COVID-19 cases reported on Saturday evening

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The six new cases in Hải Dương Province have all been quarantined.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/895388/six-new-covid-19-cases-reported-on-saturday-evening.html

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